Holidays are life – and we’re all missing them right now – but getting ready to go away can take some thought. There are always bookings to make, packing to do and budgets to collaborate. Sometimes you have to unpack and double-check luggage just to ensure that you have everything they need for the trip. And then there is the part many people don’t account for when planning their trips: Preparing the home for your time away.
The last thing you want is to have fun living in vacation rentals in Florida, overlooking the ocean and all the fun that comes with it, only to come back to a chaotic and uninhabitable home. That is why we will be looking at the things you need to do around the house before heading out to your vacation.
Clear your accounts
Pre-pay your accounts or schedule them on automatic payment before you leave, especially if you’re going to be off the grid. You don’t want to come back home to hefty late fee penalties for your outstanding balances. Of course, if you’re on internet banking, and are happy to take a couple of hours to do so while away, that’s your choice.
Confirm your house-sitter beforehand
If you have a pet kennel or a house sitter coming in to look after your beloved pets and plants, be sure to notify them of your holiday plans well in advance so that they can make the necessary adjustments to their schedule. The last thing you want is to learn of their unavailability after you’ve packed your bags and booked your tickets. Finding a replacement can be tedious and sometimes unnecessarily expensive, besides there’s nothing like the person you and pets know.
Take care of the garbage
This may seem obvious, but especially if your home is a lock up and go, disposing of your garbage is very crucial. Ensure that your indoor garbage bins are clean and dry. Flush the garbage disposal too, if you have one. Failure to do this will create a haven for pests and crawlers in the home, not forgetting the stench that might build in your kitchen while you’re away.
Unplug the electronics you don’t need
This will help you save money and energy, and protect the home from potential power-caused fire. Note that switching off electronics isn’t enough to save on energy. Unplug them. However, smoke detectors and other home security features should not be unplugged. While we’re thinking about it, ensure that your insurance policies are all in place and up to date.
Clean out the refrigerator
Take a peek inside your refrigerator and clear or give away anything that can spoil, or at least freeze what can be preserved. Eat what you can and throw away the rest to prevent the risk of coming back to a smelly fridge.
Ensure there isn’t any stagnant water in the house
Turn the main water valve off to avoid leaks. Empty the dishwasher and washing machine just in case one of them is leaky. Ask a professional to inspect and repair your leaky water pipes ahead of time, and because stagnant water can be a breeding ground for mosquitos, ensure that all sinks in the house are clean and dry.
Stop upcoming deliveries
You will not be using your regularly occurring deliveries or services (e.g. housecleaners, newspapers, landscapers, and vet services etc.) when away on holiday. Put them on hold until you come back. If you just leave, you will end up paying for services you didn’t receive, or need.
Put your mail on hold
If you had ordered packages which are now late, call the delivery company and inform them to put the delivery on hold. The package might be stolen if the delivery guy leaves it at your doorstep unattended. Of course, if you have a housesitter, they may be able to receive these for you.
Set your light on a timer and program your thermostat (if you have one)
If your lights are left always off, people will know that you are away, so your home becomes an easy target for burglars. But then you cannot leave the lights on throughout your holiday. That is where smart lights or motion sensor lights become a necessity. Also, be sure to set your smart thermostat (if you have one) to an away program in order to save on energy.
Leave a clean place to come home to
Clean your kitchen, bathroom and all living areas, and put clean linen on the bed. Fold the beddings and store them safely in the wardrobe so that they will be clean and fresh when you come back. You should also ensure that you don’t have any dirty laundry before leaving. You will thank yourself for this when you get home.
The above pre-holiday tips will help you get organised when planning for future trips. They are as generic as they need to be, so it is up to you to personalise them. Most will need planning in advance, so bear that in mind when setting things in motion for your next trip.